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UNICEF INTERNATIONAL STRATEGY FOR MINE RISK EDUCATION TO BE ADOPTED IN AZERBAIJAN

The seminar on 'UNICEF/international experience on financial hand over strategy of Mine Risk Education into the state budgets' was organized by the initiative of UNICEF/Azerbaijan office on January 30, 2008 in Baky. A number of guests including representatives from UNICEF Headquarters Mr. Sharif Baaser, Programme specialist, Mine Action Landmines and Small Arms Office of the Emergency Programs and Deputy resident representative from UNDPI/Azerbaijan (Mrs. Noura Hamladji), representatives from the ICRC (Mr.Herbi Elmazi), Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society, from related ministries, international and national organizations have attended the meeting. Mr. Nazim Ismaylov, ANAMA director who chaired the seminar has greeted all the guests on behalf of Government of Azerbaijan and briefed the participants on recent achievements in mine action activities and role of UNDP and ANAMA in the state Program on development of war-torn areas and repatriation of IDPs and refugees. Mrs. Gillian Wilcox, UNICEF representative talked about joint UNICEF-ANAMA collaboration in MRE and Mine Victim Assistance rojects. She emphasized the significance of MRE activity as an effective tool for decreasing mine/ERW incidents among the school children and civilians. Mr. Musa Jalalov, MRE Department manager made a presentation on the activities implemented to date throughout mine affected regions of Azerbaijan. During the presentation the overall support provided so far by UNICEF, USA EUROCOM and European Commission through UNDP have been noted and strategic goals and plans for MRE activity have been presented. Mr. Sharif Baaser, a guest from UNICEF HQs, made a presentation on UN Mine Action strategy. He noted the importance and effectiveness of ANAMA activities, overviewed the global mine/ERW victim statistics, and explained the main idea of 'UNICEF/international experience on financial hand over strategy of Mine Risk Education into the state budgets'. It has also been underscored that UNICEF would prepare a draft of MRE strategy for 2008/09 which should be financially supported by UNICEF and adopted by ANAMA. Thus, during two upcoming years, MRE activities should be fully undertaken and funded by the national government as well as the close collaboration with UNICEF in this direction should be further continued until mine/ERW threat is removed throughout Azerbaijan.